The Vermont Police Chiefs Association says members are "shocked and appalled" by the decision of Goddard College to have a man convicted of killing a policeman serve as graduation speaker Sunday, reports the Burlington Free Press.

"It is beyond belief that an educational institution would even consider such an act of disrespect to the family of slain Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner and the law enforcement community of Vermont," said Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel, president of the state chiefs association.

"It obviously means nothing to the school administration and graduates that Mumia Abu-Jamal murdered Officer Faulkner in cold blood by shooting him five times," Merkel said.

Abu-Jamal, who was a founder of the Philadelphia Black Panther Party, obtained his degree at Goddard through the mail while serving his prison sentence in 1996.

Abu-Jamal, 60, is scheduled to deliver a taped address that will be played when 20 students in a class of 23 receive their bachelor's degrees at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Haybarn Theatre at the Plainfield campus. The students decided on Abu-Jamal to deliver the address.

Related:

The Aggrieved: Survivor Maureen Faulkner

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